Letter from Europe to Athena Farrokhzad

Athena, I gave you everything and now you hate me. 

Athena, the ellipticity of poetry, does not untie you, September 2018.

I am a proud person. Athena, when are you going to stop fighting humanity? I love you despite your disrespect for my tradition. The tradition fills me up and that is why I feel great. The song is my life; I write it every day.

Athena, when are you going to know me? When will you leave? When will you see yourself through the grave? When will you understand the values ​​accepted by millions of Gastarbeiter’s? Athena, why are your words full of hate?

Summer is long and mine is warm. Venezuela has run out of fans, with me and you at home listening to the air conditioning. Prosperity allows me to understand the climate and the environment at all. You fantasize about walls and the catastrophes that never come. 

Athena, repeat after me: Footballers are respectful of each other but well aware of the importance of different identities of different clubs. It’s not complicated. Indians have a good understanding of English colonialism as they are thankful for having a well-developed infrastructure and institutions of the country today. I am an avocado who sowed the seeds that are being reaped in India today. I am a shelter for those who want to create and defend everyone else. Athena, your self-image is made of Teflon, nothing comes to you. You’re the over-sized generator of guilt for everyone around you.

Athena, thirty-three years before Lampedusa, Césaire wrote that I could not be defended. Defended from you? Why would I defend myself from you? Any refugee pushing my boundaries is welcome, but not every migrant unless they accept my culture. Such a migrant is a war announcement. 

All the lucky ones of this Earth have the right to the prosperity they have created, including Europeans. Athena, when will you decide whether you want to be a guest or a European? As I walk around Arabia and India, I get wrapped in scarves because I respect their culture and respect the ban on alcohol and pork. You are the Italian interior minister who quotes Mussolini as expelling me from myself. 

I ask again: are you a guest or a European? You break the open door of Denmark and even call for it to be knocked down. You kick what enables you! Someday I’ll lock you in a room with Dutch tulips and Scottish dudes so you can have a good time; so, you don’t think about stealing cars. One day you will respect Lars Løkke Rasmussen. One day you will understand the difference between refugees and moguls. One day you will be grateful just as a grateful guest of a Bedouin family. One day you will understand that Dublin is part of my pain and you have nothing to do with it unless you are European.

Athena, you love comfort, but you hate Europeans. You love the fees, but you hate the employers.

Athena, one day you will be eating cookies with Shora and Miriam and Hanna. No one will even blink your eyes when you enter the finest patisserie. Whatever language you speak, it won’t matter because you are European. You will mix the bowls with some good spoons. You will let your daughters go without scarfs and order pork. No one will look away when asked if they have baby chairs. No one will sigh when the kids spill something. 

Athena, on the subway your friends are spitting on us every day. They really believe that I am their hereditary right. Athena, it seems that you have not decided whether you want to be there or here. Athena, there are many nations in Europe, but they are all Europeans as individuals. No one is forcing those who do not want to stay. No one in Saudi Arabia is forcing migrants to stay.

Athena, when are you going to write your songs so that we understand what you want? 

How many of you were killed by Khomeini? When will Iran embrace its Persian roots? When will your borders be the frontiers of Persian culture? I’m not interested. But I wonder when you will go to the store and understand that you are paying with money created and not with your pretty face? Athena, how can so many of your nations be dictatorships and how democratic can my monarchies be? Do you think Persia is a fairy tale for children? 

How long will you not understand that Robespierre was a revolutionary and that his revolution devoured his own children? Erasmus is the most beautiful thing that could happen to your studies. Nevertheless, you occupied Denis Diderot University and slept with everyone north of the canal. You thankfully turned and walked away. Mina and Baha moved out; I don’t think they will ever return. 

Athena, when the Greek truck driver rolled off the road, you thought it was the result of terrorism. But only wanted to show you an ancient temple. You hate both Aristotle and the Greeks. You love the fee, but you hate the employers. You hate everything that is mine. You love your decorated balcony, but you hate the Dutch. 

I don’t even know what you love, I just know what you hate. Athena, what are you going to leave behind? No wonder you get a stomach ulcer.

Athena, why would you be dragged by Gertrude Stein when nothing that is mine is dragging you? Why are you even here? You understand the avant-garde as politics. You understand everything as politics. I am not a politician, I am an identity.

Picasso painted Guernica and said: A bull is a bull and a horse is a horse. Do you even understand Aristotle in Picasso? Do you understand that because of my machinery, you can go on charter trips and still have bad news for me? If you don’t like it, go! We will make arrangements here on the basis of my rules and in Iran on the basis of Iran rules. 

Athena, twenty years ago we tolerated multiculturalism because you have not yet abused it. Now I ask you to accept me or to leave. Athena, repeat after me: Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome. Fremde, ettanger, stranger. Glücklich zu sehen, je suis enchanté. Happy to see you, bleibe, reste, stay. I get overwhelmed by the thought that you will never be part of Europe. Only you can accept me, or you can’t.

Athena, because you do not understand communism, you cannot regret it either. 

You used to sell newspapers in the school hallway. Your biology teacher always bought them, even though he was right-handed. He said the eastern block was important for balance. Athena, as you write, your head is a single iron curtain, a hatred only. You miss the fifth international, but you don’t understand the first one. 

Nobody let you down; you can only leave yourself in the lurch. As you walk along the Landwehrkanal, your iPhone tells you the temperature and the number of steps you walk.

Athena, Hafez and Omar Khayyam were really great poets. Iran is divine in nature and culture. Slovenian green has a false dash, but it is real. You may not be lost yet, as you get entombed when the Danube lights up. Nevertheless, I am worried that Chaos will overcome the beauty of order in you. You blunder about Albania and you romanticize the shooting in Sarajevo, since you don’t even know your own history. You know that Jerusalem exists in Slovenia, but you do not understand that everyone, not just the Crusader, stops there. 

Athena, la mission civilisatrice cannot be separated from Christianity, Christianity from feudalism, feudalism from industrialism, industrialism from capitalism, capitalism from prosperity. Because you don’t understand the Enlightenment, romance is a regression for you. Only when you embrace the Christian tradition without necessarily being faithful will you understand Maria Antonieta and Michelangelo. Because you mix Versailles with Vichy and Weimar with Waterloo, you can’t understand why it was raining in Verlain’s heart.

Athena, new frontiers are drawn by your delicate consciousness. Persia was drawing its borders and Europe was not so far back. Today, borders are being erased by traders and entrepreneurs. They don’t need them. Angola entrepreneurs will co-create my surplus just as Chinese entrepreneurs do today. Imperialism lives in your head, not in mine for decades. I respect my languages ​​because they are the bearers of millennia of ancient cultures. As a Persian, I could understand that. As a European, if you are European, too. Slaves that are part of a bygone culture are used for bad conscience. Many have stranded you, including some from the Gothenburg harbour. Many are stranded on your shallow manipulation. Those who survive do not put themselves in the teeth, knowing that otherwise, they will be victims of a known indigenous disease.

You never dreamed that a Cranberries song was about an IRA. An IRA is my pain and I face it myself. You hate Spinning Jenny but at the same time you wind up in Zara’s sweater. You miss Marx and Engels, but you don’t understand them if you’ve read anything at all. Athena, you do not understand that the children of student protests are people like everyone else and that we all need our homeland as our focus. Are you just a villain or is it a salacious joke?

You know perfectly that stoning in Iran and Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with the Devil. You think Galileo was a friend of Galileo. You reproach my science, and you live for the sake of it. You reproach me money and you can’t do it without it. You accuse me of Christianity and praise partisans in the hills. I don’t blame you on Hafez and I don’t give you the American embargo. You call for liquidation, and I call for you to rise from your chaos, from your death.

Athena, most Swedish party presidents identify with Pipi Longstrumpf; not just them. Few of my citizens are born on January 1st. Why don’t you switch citizenship if you don’t like it here? No one forces you to stay; no one is forcing you to go. Decide. I recognize your bluff in almost every word. When the war in Yugoslavia broke out, you were eight years old. Nine when you got your classmates from Bosnia. Refugees come from where the wars are. Migrants in Europe are looking for better living conditions. Because Europe is simply better. You wouldn’t want to get into my lap otherwise. Don’t insult the Iranian embassy by placing it to the right of Tito’s mausoleum. If you recognized the lever for rapprochement in baklava, do not despise it, but exalt it.

Athena, what are you going to leave behind? No wonder you get a stomach ulcer. In Barcelona, you could easily demonstrate the right to an abortion, but then you say that your head was driven by a tank. When you mention Klemperer you forget that your words have high doses of arsenic. 

Athena, when terrorists throw bombs, you are silent. Athena, I can trace historical parallels to eternity. But the big difference between now and then is hundreds of millions less hungry and less at risk. The difference between the Finnish winter war and now is far greater prosperity. 

Athena, you can’t forget because you don’t know and don’t want to know. You will end up as Ulrike Meinhof or as Italy at the World Cup.

You should be angry with communism not because it screwed up our dreams, but because it destroyed people. You should be angry at the Swedish Academy for not awarding Haruki Murakami yet. In fact, I wish you would stop being angry because anger causes a stomach ulcer. You stop being angry when you understand and accept. You stop being angry when you understand that man is neither a God nor an angel.

Athena, those who once would never vote for Labor, are now campaigning for Corbyn. You cheer for Syriza and Podemos not because you would be weak, but because you hate the powerful. 

Athena, you should have taught your daughter something before you went to the Zoologischer garten to get closer to the giraffe and bounce off the lion. As you walked through our museums, you thought of the robbery of Babylonia. However, you do not think that yours permanently destroyed Palmyra, and the British Museum returned beautifully preserved Babylonian artefacts. 

Athena, your trauma is terrorism. You don’t want to understand it. I can help you if you decide to be European. As a European, you will most strongly condemn the terrorist attack on Downing Street 10 and not supporting it.

Athena, if you still criticize all that is available to you, you are behaving as if you were living in the golden days of King Leopold. Athena, when will you accept me? When will you accept your own denial of Persia? You destroyed it yourself. You rely on deaths you don’t understand.

Anyone could understand that the coal and steel community was not for the proletariat, but for man since the proletariat has not existed for many years. The worker is an entrepreneur, and as such he can mismanage himself. 

Athena, I think you would like Queen Kristina, but Queen Kristina would certainly not like you. You love Spartacus for his violence. You don’t want to accept reality because you have a head full of nonsense. You dream of Öcalan as President of the European Commission. At the same time, you want me all the worst. You support everything that hates me. You want Cambodian farmers to burn my paper money. 

You hate the choice because you are afraid of responsibility.

Athena, as long as you glorify arson and killings, you will be no different than Hitler.

You will let your emotional life be channelled by well-funded NGOs. Or are you such an NGO yourself? You hate freedom, so you can’t understand it. You hate liberality because you are a totalitarian at heart. So, you despise yourself and despise everything around you. Athena, when you were reading Allen Ginsberg as a kid, you were despising him. Athena, you managed to crush all that was good and beautiful in you. 

Athena, where did you displace your love? What did you do to your sweetheart? Where did you hide your ornaments? When will you write the poems again? When are you going to split olive twigs among people? When are you going to listen to people, not those undercover? Athena, your daughter is the granddaughter of Ukrainian Jews fleeing pogroms, the granddaughter of Iranian and Argentine Communists fleeing dictatorships, the daughter of tired Swedes who hope they can stay. And you hate Denmark! You hate what allows you to actualize yourself. Your destructiveness is greater than heaven. If you disassemble Denmark, it will still be less exhibited than you are today.

Athena, I will not stop with my love. I want to get to the bottom of it. I want to create a secure system of shared values. I am glad that there are fewer poor people every day and I want family ties to be strengthened in accordance with my millennial tradition. You use Chernobyl and Chechnya in the blank just to emphasize hatred for Denmark. Athena, leave me alone, I know what I’m doing. I’m tired of your sick demands. Let the woman live – both with me and in Iran. I do not want to write sorrows; I do not want to repeat the mantras of your sick spirit. Plum blossoms also fall here. He understands that I accept both Pasolini and Salvini, Bergman and Rasmussen, Zizek and Hegel. Windmills are becoming generators of electricity. Do you want to be a generator or a consumer?

On behalf of Europe, written by Andrej Drapal

Andrej Drapal